In a given utility service area, or market, there are dozens of retail energy suppliers who will compete for your business. The challenge, and the opportunity, is that electricity and natural gas are technical and often confusing disciplines for middle market businesses. Many energy companies have their own sales force that will try to sell you their product, but you are better served by creating competition and accurately comparing what your options are.
Generation: Power plants that produce electricity supply. In most markets, the public utility is the most common supplier. In deregulated markets, however, consumers may choose from competing retail suppliers who provide the generation component of their electricity.
Transmission: The high-voltage transmission line infrastructure that delivers electricity from the power plants to your geographic area. This is still a regulated industry where regional transmission organizations (RTO) or independent system operators (ISO) manage the transmission of large amounts of electricity.
Distribution: The same network of power lines that has always delivered electric service to your address. Maintained by your local distribution company, this part is still regulated by the utility commissions of each State and is not open to competition.